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NFL Denver Broncos

5 Denver Broncos Who Mean The Most To The Team’s Future

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Players Who Mean The Most To Denver Broncos' Future

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Getty Images

With free agency starting up, some players will be leaving the Denver Broncos in the next couple of weeks. This team has returned to prominence in the last three years and has become one of the bigger powerhouses in the AFC, perhaps even the entire NFL. Of course, it always helps when you have a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Peyton Manning leading the squad and a star cast of players behind him.

Of course, their goal of winning the franchise's third Super Bowl fell short in February when they were embarrassed against the Seattle Seahawks. When the 2014 season begins, they will look to return to the big stage and hope that the result is different this time around. However, it is never a bad idea to look ahead to the future.

This team is poised to win all the marbles right now. It is as simple as that. But how are they going to look to the future? We know Manning is not going to be in the league forever (although that would be awesome) and some of the players on the squad are seasoned veterans, like Champ Bailey to name one.

The team will have to address salary issues during the free agency period and see who has performed well enough to stay on the team, and save some money for other free agents and the draft. One area that the team will look to improve on this offseason is the secondary and the offensive line, as well as perhaps getting a linebacker or two.

Both the offense and defense look promising heading into 2014, but it is never a bad idea to look ahead to the future and see what the team has. With that being said, here are five players who I believe are going to mean the most for the Broncos for years to come.

Tylor Walden is a Denver Broncos writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylorDWalden, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Matt Prater - Kicker

matt prater
Chris Humphreys- USA TODAY Sports

A kicker is often the most underrated player in the league, but Matt Prater made a name for himself in the 2013 season. He only missed one field goal in the regular season and recorded a record 75 extra points. Oh, and let's not forget he hit an NFL record 64-yard field goal against the Tennessee Titans in December. The best part is that Prater is only 29-years old, so he has quite a long career ahead of him.

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4. Terrance Knighton - Defensive Tackle

terrance knighton
Ron Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports

The man nicknamed “Pot Roast” has emerged as one of the better run-stoppers as of late and has no problem going after the quarterback as well. His play during the postseason gives the team hope going into the 2014 season for the defense. Look for Terrance Knighton to become a big name next season and to get a big deal for the Broncos in the 2015 offseason.

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3. Demaryius Thomas - Wide Receiver

demaryius thomas
Robert Deutsch- USA TODAY Sports

There was a lot of promise for Demaryius Thomas when he was taken 22nd overall in the 2010 Draft and he has certainly not disappointed. He was a bright spot for the Broncos during the Super Bowl and has played like a top wide out. Thomas could easily become the next Rod Smith for the Broncos organization. Look for him to get a big contract extension when the 2014 season ends and become the top man in Denver for a very long time.

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2. Julius Thomas - Tight End

julius thomas
Ron Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports

Julius Thomas had his breakout year in 2013 and looks to be a huge weapon for the Broncos for years to come. He basically became the Broncos' version of Rob Gronkowski which is a very dangerous thing to look at in the long run. He has become an important part of the offense and should stay with the team for years to come.

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1. Brock Osweiler - Quarterback

osweiler brock
Mark J. Rebilas- USA TODAY Sports

Let us face it, Manning will not be in the league forever. When he does retire, it could become the Brock Osweiler show. This could be a second coming of what Aaron Rodgers became after learning from Brett Farve. If that is a possibility, we could see the Broncos succeed post-Manning.